Kyle sensed something was wrong as soon as he entered the school. Several students stared at him and giggled as he made his way to his first period class. He overheard one girl ask another, “Is that him? He’s kind of cute.”
Throughout first period, students would pass their cell phone to another student when the teacher wasn’t looking. They would then look over at him and laugh. Something was going on, but he didn’t know what.
It didn’t take him long to find out. When he entered his second period and sat down, Brian Davenport, class clown of the sophomore class, looked over at him and blew him a kiss. Everyone in the room burst out laughing. From the back of the room, someone shouted out, “Better be careful, Brian. He may just take you up on that.”
Kyle looked around the room as everyone looked at him and laughed. He was being humiliated in front of his classmates, and he couldn’t understand why. He looked over when the girl next to him exclaimed, “From the picture, it looks like he’s into more than just kissing.”
“Yeah,” added another student, “looks like he takes it up the ass too.”
A female classmate behind him leaned over and told the girl beside her, “I’m surprised that Brad swings both ways. I always thought he was just into girls?”
Kyle thought to himself, ‘What the hell is everyone talking about?’ The teacher entered the room and everyone scattered to take their seats.
During the middle of class, Kyle felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. Mr. Peterson was pacing around the room observing students as they worked on an assignment. When he went to his desk to sit down, Kyle cautiously pulled out his phone. He had a message from his sister.
It read: your such a fag
There was also a picture attached. He let out a slight gasp when he saw it. His sister had taken one of the images of Brad and him playing Twister. Brad was leaning over him, and it appeared that they were getting ready to kiss. However, someone had photoshopped the picture so that they were no longer playing a game. Instead, the background was his bedroom, and it looked like he and Brad were making out on his bed.
Kyle’s face reddened with anger as he looked at the image. His sister had used him to seek revenge on Brad. The picture made them appear like they were gay. She wanted students to think that she had broken up with Brad because he was having an affair with her brother.
When the bell rang, he gathered his books as other students continued to stare at him. Instead of heading to his third period class, he left through a side exit.
* * * * * *
Buddy was still in shock as he sat in his sixth period class. He looked at the empty seat beside him and wondered if Kyle was all right. He had seen him in the hall earlier in the day, but he hadn’t shown up to class.
He knew something had happened when everyone in his first period kept passing their cell phones around the room and laughing at a picture someone had posted. When a girl on his left passed her phone to him and asked him to pass it to the boy on his right, he quickly took a glance at the picture.
It was Kyle! And he was making out with Brad! Brad was straddling him on the bed, and it appeared that they were getting ready to kiss. He wished that he could have taken a better look, because it appeared that both of them might have had an erection.
“Holy shit!” He exclaimed to himself as he passed the phone over. He tried unsuccessfully to look over other student’s shoulders as they passed the picture around, but he couldn’t get another good glimpse.
When the picture first appeared in the morning, students found it amusing. However, as it circulated around to more students, the comments became harsher. He heard comments of fags, cocksuckers and homos becoming more numerous. By the end of the day, the rumor was that Kyle Caldwell was gay, and that he had tried to seduce Brad Chambers. Melissa had walked in on them, and she had taken the picture. They then got into a huge fight, and Brad started seeing Joy Riddler to prove that he wasn’t gay. But now, everyone assumed that Kyle was gay, and he was the instigator of all the problems that were occurring.
“What!” Andre shouted as he sat down beside Buddy on the bed. “Kyle is gay?”
“I didn’t say that,” remarked Buddy. “I said that a picture is circulating around school showing him making out with Brad.”
“I don’t believe it,” replied Andre. “We’ve been in school with Brad since the first grade, and he’s never shown any interest in guys.” He started to laugh. “I should know. I begged him several times to let me get him off. I even offered him five dollars in the sixth grade if he would let me suck him.”
“You’re one sick puppy,” laughed Buddy as he shook his head.
“It almost worked, though,” replied Andre. “He told me he’d think about it. When I reminded him about it the next week, he told me he didn’t want to do it.”
Buddy turned to Andre and asked, “Do you think him and Kyle really did do something?”
“Maybe he’s on the downlow,” suggested Andre. “A lot of guys are.”
“True,” replied Buddy as he lay back on the bed. He slapped Andre’s hand away when he started to rub his crotch.
“Oh, come on,” begged Andre. “I’m horny, and we haven’t done anything in over a year. Don’t you ever get horny?”
“Of course, I get horny,” replied Buddy as he stood and rearranged his growing erection. “But we’ve talked about this before. You’re like a brother. It wouldn’t seem right.”
“I know,” sighed Andre. “It’s just I need someone.”
Buddy sat back down beside him and asked,“I thought you were seeing Dwayne?”
“When he wants to fuck,” replied Andre angrily. “I need something more permanent. I’m tired of guys using me.”
“If you’d stop being such a slut...”
Andre slapped his arm. “I’m not a slut. Besides, you’re one to talk.”
Buddy scowled at his friend. “What do you mean by that?”
Andre stood and looked down at his friend. “I heard that you stopped by Aubrey’s last night.”
“Who told you that?”
“It doesn’t matter,” replied. Andre. “I thought you weren’t going to do that shit anymore?”
“I know,” Buddy said as he lay back and rubbed his hands over his hair. “But I just can’t take this shit anymore. I can deal better when I’m high.” He sat up and looked at Andre. “I’m thinking about dropping out of school,” he announced.
“You can’t!” insisted Andre as he sat back down beside Buddy.
“But you did.”
“I did it because of all the shit people were doing to me,” he replied. “I got tired of all the names they called me, and all the bullying. They don’t do that to you.”
Buddy nodded and said, “I still want to do it. I’ll get my GED like you’re doing.”
“And then do what?” Andre asked. “Work a minimum wage job the rest of your life?”
“So,” Buddy stood and paced around the room. “If I stay in school and graduate, then I’ll be somebody some day?”
Andre replied skeptically, “Maybe.”
Buddy started laughing. “You really do believe that life gets better, don’t you?”
“I have to believe it,” replied Andre as tears welled up in his eyes. “If I stop believing, then I might as well stop living.”
Buddy sat down and patted him on his leg. “We stopped living the day we were born,” he said sadly. Andre reached over and pulled him into a hug.
* * * * * * *
Kyle stormed into his house after school and slammed the door shut. He pulled off his book bag at the door and ran upstairs, two steps at a time.
He threw open his sister’s door. She was lying across her bed talking to someone on the phone. He looked down and screamed, “What the fuck did you do!”
“I’ll call you back,” his sister said into the phone and then hung up. She looked up and with an evil smirk and replied, “Getting even with Brad and you.”
Kyle yelled, “Me! What the fuck did I do to you?”
“Oh, get off it, Kyle!” she shouted as she jumped off the bed and stood before him. “You’ve wanted Brad ever since I started dating him.”
Kyle’s eyes widened. “What?”
“Yeah, you faggot,” she spat as she took a step closer. “I saw your dick get hard when you were playing Twister. Why do you think I took the pictures? I just didn’t know they would come in handy.”
“You bitch!” He pulled back his hand and slapped her across the face.
She stepped back and hollered, “Get out of my room, you fucking queer!” She placed her hand on her face where Kyle had hit her. “Get out!” she screamed and pointed toward the door.
Kyle ran to his room and slammed the door. He fell against it has he tried to catch his breath. He couldn’t believe what his sister had done just to get even with Brad. She had outed him to the entire school, and she didn’t feel any remorse. All she cared about was seeking revenge on Brad, even if it meant ruining his reputation too.
He took off his school clothes and put on a pair of sweats. He then paced around his room deciding what he should do next. It would probably several more hours before his mother returned home. He wasn’t even sure if his father was at his office, or if he was on another business trip. He considered calling his mother and telling her what had happened, but he didn’t know what to say.
“Hi, Mom. I’m gay and Melissa just outed me at school.” That would certainly be the start of an interesting conversation.
He was pacing around the room when he heard a car door slam. He went over to the window and looked out. A patrol car was parked in the driveway, and an officer was walking up to the front door. He heard Melissa leave her room when the doorbell rang.
“That bitch!” He hissed as he opened his bedroom door to see if he could hear what she was saying downstairs. He could hear her talking excitedly, but he couldn’t understand what she was saying. A few minutes later, he heard someone coming upstairs. He quickly closed his door and sat on the side of his bed.
There was a light knock on the door, and an uniformed officer opened it, peeked inside and then came walking in. Kyle looked up and tearfully asked, “Are you going to arrest me?”
The officer smiled warmly and then sat down beside him on the bed. “No,” he assured him. “I’ve got two kids at home who fight all the time. I think we can handle this without anyone going to jail.” Kyle placed his face in his hands and started crying.
“I didn’t mean to slap her,” he mumbled, “but she did a really awful thing.” The officer rubbed him gently on his back.
“How old are you, Son?”
Kyle looked at him and replied, “Sixteen, Sir.”
The officer smiled and said, “You don’t have to call me Sir. I’m Sergeant Murdock. Would you like to tell me what happened?”
“Not really,” replied Kyle. “It’s kind of embarrassing.”
Sergeant Murdock pulled a small notebook from his pocket. “Elizabeth Caldwell, the federal prosecutor, is your mother?” Kyle nodded his head. Murdock rose from the bed.
Kyle asked worriedly, “What are you going to do?”
Murdock looked down and replied, “I’m going to call your mother and tell her what has happened. I’ll let her deal with this.”
Kyle asked, “So I’m not going to jail?”
Murdock knelt in front of him. “If you promise me you won’t slap your sister again, then we’ll consider this matter done. Promise?”
Kyle sighed deeply and responded, “I promise.”
* * * * * * *
Buddy was sitting in the kitchen of Aubrey’s trailer inhaling deeply on a joint. He looked over at Aubrey and held it up in the air as he exhaled. “This is some good shit,” he exclaimed.
Aubrey laughed and said, “Only the best.” He took the joint from Buddy’s hand and took a puff. He then exhaled it into Buddy’s face before handing it back.
“Hey!” cried Buddy. “Quit blowing that shit in my face.”
Aubrey grabbed his crotch. “I got something you can blow.”
“I just did,” laughed Buddy as he held up the joint. “This shit tastes better.”
“Not what you said ten minutes ago,” remarked Aubrey as he grabbed his crotch again. He walked over to the refrigerator, pulled out two beers and returned to the table. He handed a beer to Buddy.
“Thanks,” said Buddy as he pulled open the tab. He then asked, “How many runs you want me to make tonight?”
“Just two,” replied Aubrey as he weighed out a bag of marijuana on a scale. “One goes to Jenkins down at the corner. He’s already paid up, so don’t ask for any money.”
He held up another bag. “This one goes to Aames over on Market Street. You know where he stays?” Buddy nodded his head. “He ain’t paid yet. If he don’t give you a hundred, don’t leave it with him. He’ll try and con you and tell you he’ll make it right with me, but don’t trust him. He’ll eventually pay up, but I gotta wait until his unemployment check comes in. It’s the middle of the month, and I ain’t waiting two fucking weeks. If he gives you any shit, just bring it back and I’ll deal with him later.”
Buddy pulled his hoodie over his head as he left Aubrey’s trailer. The nights were getting colder, and he hadn’t bought a coat from the local Goodwill yet. Jenkins was waiting outside for him.
“Hey, Kid,” he said as Buddy handed him the baggie. Jenkins turned away and mumbled, “What the hell you doing? Don’t hand me that shit out here in the open. Cops might have the place under surveillance.” He looked angrily at Buddy. “You must be new to this.”
“I am,” replied Buddy as he followed him around to the back of his trailer. Jenkins looked around and then told Buddy to hand it to him. He examined it and remarked, “Aubrey’s bags keep getting smaller and smaller. I’m going to have to find someone else to buy from.” Buddy nodded, turned and walked away.
Jenkins’ remark about a police surveillance had him worried. As he walked down the sidewalk toward Aames’ place, he kept looked around to make sure he wasn’t being followed. When he agreed to run for Aubrey, he hadn’t taken into consideration that danger might be involved. Not only did he now realize he could be arrested, he also feared that someone might know that he had drugs on him, and they might try to rob him. All he intended to do was make a little money; but now, he thought perhaps he hadn’t made a wise decision.
He became suspicious when a car circled the block and pulled up beside him. A young man, perhaps in his early twenties, rolled down the window and asked, “You holding?”
“Naw, Man,” replied Buddy as he pulled his hoodie tighter around his head and began walking faster. The car continued to ride slowly beside him.
The guy hollered out, “Come on, Man. I’m desperate here. I know you’re selling.”
Buddy stopped and peered down into the car. It was getting dark, and it was hard to see the guy. “I told you...” Suddenly, someone jumped him from behind and knocked him to the ground. He covered his head and watched as the guy in the car jumped out and ran over to him.
“Mother Fucker,” he spat as the other guy kicked him in his side. He shielded his head tighter to avoid serious injury. “Gimme what you got!” insisted the young guy as he felt inside the pockets of Buddy’s sweat pants.
He pulled out the baggie, showed it to his friend and said, “Got it!” They both kicked him one last time before jumping into the car and speeding off.
When he saw the brake lights come on, he jumped to his feet, hurried behind a nearby house and hid in some bushes. He waited there about five minutes until he felt it was safe to leave. He made his way down the street holding his aching sides.
Andre screamed when he saw Buddy standing outside his door. “What happened to you, Baby?” He helped him as he limped into the trailer.
“We alone?” Buddy asked as he looked around.
Andre replied, “Momma’s asleep in her room.” He helped him over to the sofa to sit down. “What happened?”
Buddy explained how he had been attacked and robbed while helping Aubrey. “Why are you doing that shit?” Andre asked angrily. “Ain’t nothing good going to come from it.”
Buddy looked over sadly and replied, “I need the fucking money.” He pulled at his thin jacket. “I ain’t even got a coat, and it’s cold as fuck outside.”
“Momma can buy you a coat,” insisted his friend.
Buddy looked at him and frowned. “And be what, a charity case?”
“It isn’t like that,” replied Andre. “You’re like a son to her. She’ll buy you one.”
Buddy stood, looked down and said adamantly, “I can take care of myself. I’ve been doing it all my life.” He then opened the door and left.
As he was walking back to his trailer, Aubrey stepped out from behind a parked car. He approached Buddy angrily. “Where’s my fucking weed, Kid? Aames said you didn’t show.” He pulled a gun from his pants and pointed it at Buddy’s head.